Bateson’s (Digital) Tick

There is a species of tick, a little round creature that gets in your skin. The baby tick when he hatches, walks up a tree, and remains on a twig until he smells butyric acid, that is sweat. If and when he smells butyric acid, he falls off the tree and hopes to fall on a mammal.

If in two or three weeks, he does not smell any sweat, he falls off the tree and climbs another tree. It is the absence of butyric acid, in the end, has the same effect that the presence of butyric acid would have. He’s able to work at two logical type levels. He is able to deal with the absence of information as a piece of information. The information which doesn’t come is itself information.

This is dreadfully important in the whole relation of figure relation, and so on.







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